Monday, April 28, 2014

Mechanics on Tonight Session

Tonight was the second session and we completed it about an hour ago.  I have to say I'm not feeling all that great about the session.  My mojo level was low.  I'll break down the mechanics of the session more than I will the adventure recap itself.

Tonight I had the party scattered to the three winds.  Also, I needed to introduce a new party member.  So I had a lot to do.  The session is 2.5 hours at most after a bit of a BS session.  Then we had echoing issues to two guys.  When I GM that distracts me and then having to repeat it a few times is frustrating.

For the adventure itself I like to keep the player engaged so I broke up the adventure in small parts so I could shift back and forth.  Leave one group to move onto the next.  Even if you spent 15 minutes with one group that means there was a 30 minute gap in the play. 

The setup was good overall and the events fairly well done.  But it still felt clunky.  I came up with scenarios for the players to meet again in another village.  Again, all for very different reasons.  There was a interesting scene outside a guard barracks where all three groups met up again.  The first time they saw each other since the party fight.  Even at this time I hadn't introduced the new character.

The adventure was fairly simple.  The party members would all be in the Stone Fields completing whatever task they chose.  I railroaded the location, but no the tasks within.  Two of the groups joined in an uneasy alliance.

Some of the things I need to develop more is exactly the combat I'm using.  Here's what I've used so far.
  • Cleave rule from Tenkar's game.  All classes can cleave once when they kill an opponent.  A fighter can cleave a number of times equal to his level.
  • You can attack two handed.  Standard -2 in the primary hand and -4 in the off hand.  Dexterity mods will modify these penalties.  
  • Using shields will be shattered rule.  Works great for normal shields, but I don't use plus shields very often.  I think I am going to offer the players a save on their magic shield (it would be assigned a number) and if they fail it breaks, if they succeed they can continue to use it.
  • -10 hit points for death.  I'm not a fan of the 0hp and your dead for my game.  I think the -10 gives them a slight chance to survive after being taken out in a fight.
  • For critical hits and misses we are using the deck from Pathfinder to determine the special effect.  I like having something happen.  So do the players.
I'll go into detail about the adventure in the morning.  Hey, even though I don't feel I did all that well tonight, a bad game session is better than no game session.


  1. I love armor damage and repair and shield destruction but what to do with the damn magic ones has always been a conundrum. A magic shield that can never be destroyed becomes a much more powerful item than a +1 shield should be (in 1e AD&D at least). In the end I started having the shields and magic armor take saving throws before they could be damaged and made it hellacious for low level PCs to repair them. It actually worked out great and sucked up their gold and other magic items like a sponge.

    I will say that splitting the party can be a major Mojo drain and game killer.

  2. Great choices for your house rules.

    Also, "a bad game session is better than no game session"? I think that was found in the Dead Sea Scrolls...if not, it should have been. Words of wisdom.

    And I'll have to "ditto" Jason ^. Splitting the party can be a HUGE albatross to a gaming session.

    Get feeling better.

  3. I always did like -CON as the death threshold. Makes that matter more than just a bonus to HP.

    The echoing stuff is hard, something my speaker setup is prone to unless I use headphones . . . and we all know that last time we played S&W with Erik, my setup was good with the microphone, but no output through the headphones, only the monitor! No echoes, but no ideas either. I suspect if all your players have headphones, you'll be fine.

  4. I had a good time last night. It's true that there was down time for some players while others were doing their thing, but I think that's just the nature of the beast once the party breaks up (which I've always imagined to be a GM's worst nightmare), and I think you've handled it well.

  5. I might be tipping my hand but in a table setting, I hate split parties, in an online virtual setting I don't find it nearly as troublesome as a player. I can tab out, surf the web, or read up on the rules/setting. Also, as a DM, something I'm fairly good at doing is multitasking the voice chat while handling side issues in side bar chat sessions.